JAMES D. CARTER, Appellant,
TINA L. FAIRCHILD-CARTER, Respondent.
Calendar Date: January 17, 2018
Norfolk LLP, Lake Placid (Matthew D. Norfolk of counsel), for
MaryAnne Bukolt-Ryder, Plattsburgh, for respondent.
Before: Egan Jr., J.P., Devine, Mulvey, Aarons and Rumsey,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
from an order of the Supreme Court (Ryan, J.), entered August
15, 2016 in Clinton County, which, among other things, denied
plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.
(hereinafter the husband) and defendant (hereinafter the
wife) were married in 2008. Their relationship, however,
faltered and, in 2014, the husband commenced this action for
a judgment of separation under Domestic Relations Law §
200. The wife answered and asserted a counterclaim for a
judgment of divorce. The wife also sought maintenance and
equitable distribution of the marital assets. The husband
thereafter moved for summary judgment requesting that Supreme
Court grant the wife's counterclaim for a judgment of
divorce and to enforce the parties' prenuptial agreement.
The wife, among other things, opposed the husband's
motion on the basis that the prenuptial agreement was not
valid. Supreme Court, among other things, denied the
husband's motion for summary judgment. The husband now
appeals. We affirm.
is well settled that duly executed prenuptial agreements are
generally valid and enforceable given the 'strong public
policy favoring individuals ordering and deciding their own
interests through contractual arrangements'"
(Van Kipnis v Van Kipnis, 11 N.Y.3d 573, 577 ,
quoting Bloomfield v Bloomfield, 97 N.Y.2d 188, 193
). The party seeking to vitiate the prenuptial
agreement "bears the burden of proving the impediment
attributable to the proponent seeking enforcement"
(Matter of Greiff, 92 N.Y.2d 341, 344 ). Such
agreements will be enforced absent proof of fraud, duress,
overreaching or unconscionability (see Christian v
Christian, 42 N.Y.2d 63, 72-73 ; Herr v
Herr, 97 A.D.3d 961, 962 , lv dismissed
20 N.Y.3d 904');">20 N.Y.3d 904 ; Matter of Garbade, 221 A.D.2d
844, 845 , lv denied 88 N.Y.2d 803');">88 N.Y.2d 803');">88 N.Y.2d 803');">88 N.Y.2d 803 ).
conclude that the husband satisfied his summary judgment
burden (see McKenna v McKenna, 121 A.D.3d 864, 866
). The husband admitted the allegations in the
wife's counterclaim for a judgment of divorce. He also
submitted the prenuptial agreement executed by both parties,
which provided that they waived their right to equitable
distribution and maintenance. It further recited that each
party consulted with his or her legal counsel and had been
advised by such counsel of their respective rights and
obligations. The husband likewise averred in an affidavit
that the prenuptial agreement was negotiated at arm's
length and the parties were represented by counsel throughout
of the foregoing, the burden shifted to the wife as the party
challenging the validity of the prenuptial agreement (see
Tremont v Tremont, 35 A.D.3d 1046, 1047 ). Viewing
the evidence in a light most favorable to the wife, we find
that the wife carried her burden of raising a material issue
of fact. In opposition to the husband's motion, the wife
submitted an affidavit in which she provided a contrasting
version of events surrounding the execution of the prenuptial
agreement. She stated therein that shortly before the wedding
day, the husband presented her with a prenuptial agreement.
The wife, on the advice of her counsel, told the husband that
she could not sign it or marry him unless he made some
changes - namely, that she would get half the value of the
land and house where they resided and 50% of everything they
acquired during the marriage. The wife further averred that,
on "the very day before the wedding" and as she was
making final preparations for the wedding, the husband
presented her with a revised prenuptial agreement, told her
that he had made the requested changes and assured her that
she would be taken care of for the rest of her life.
the wife stated that she was given this new prenuptial
agreement while standing outside the County Clerk's
office and that the husband "didn't really give
[her] time to even read the document, let alone take it back
to the lawyer to look at it again." She stated that she
was feeling stressed and pressured with the wedding planning
and "just signed the document." These facts, if
credited, give rise to the inference of overreaching (see
Leighton v Leighton, 46 A.D.3d 264, 265 ,
appeal dismissed 10 N.Y.3d 739');">10 N.Y.3d 739');">10 N.Y.3d 739');">10 N.Y.3d 739 ; cf.
Sheridan v Sheridan, 202 A.D.2d 749, 751 ;
Vandenburgh v Vandenburgh, 194 A.D.2d 957, 959
). Accordingly, Supreme Court properly denied the
husband's summary judgment motion. 
Jr., J.P., Devine and Mulvey, JJ., concur.
Rumsey, J. (concurring).
concur in the majority's determination that defendant
(hereinafter the wife) carried her burden of raising a
material issue of fact by submitting facts that, if credited,
give rise to an inference of overreaching by plaintiff
(hereinafter the husband). However, I write to express my
concern that the majority's determination that the wife
met her burden based upon allegations that she was pressured
into signing the prenuptial agreement on the day prior to the
wedding without reading it establishes a dramatically lower
standard for challenging prenuptial agreements that
contravenes our long-standing precedent. I would not find
overreaching in this case but for the wife's allegation
that the husband's affirmative misrepresentation of the